Police Warn About “Wasping”, A Dangerous New ‘Meth Alternative’ Trending In America


The opioid crisis taking place in the United States today is growing not only in size, but in scope as well. When the younger generation can’t afford their drug of choice they will often find new ways to get high.

West Virginia State Police believe this new trend, known as “wasping” played a part in three separate overdoses within the last week in Boone County, West Virginia.

“We’re seeing this here on the streets in Boone County,” Sergeant Charles Sutphin told WCHS Eyewitness News. “From what we’re being told, if you use it, you know, you might use it once or twice and be fine, but the third time when your body hits that allergic reaction, it can kill you.”

Known as “wasping”, users either combine the spray with methamphetamine or are using it on its own as a meth substitute. People either spray the liquid directly onto meth to enhance it or turn it into crystals by spraying it onto hot metal sheets to crystalize, which can then be injected or inhaled, ABC News reports. The sprays contain pyrethroids, which block wasps’ nervous systems, causing them to be stunned and killed. In humans it blocks nerve signaling, causing an altered state.

“It’s a cheap fix, and you don’t know what the overall result of their usage of this is going to be,” Sutphin said. WCHS reports that stores in the county had recently sold nearly 30 cans of the spray. Though it’s possible they were used on actual wasps, state police believe the spray was involved in at least three overdoses in the last week.

“Drugs are so bad around here. It’s so available to people, and then all the time {people are] trying things new that we wouldn’t even think about,” local resident Diana Ferguson told WCHS.

This misuse of poison spray is highly dangerous.

Bug sprays contain active ingredients called pyrethroids, which stun and kill insects; but in humans, the chemicals can interfere with nerve signaling, which can lead to abnormal sensations, and in some cases, seizures or paralysis, ABC News reported. The chemicals can also lead to increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, headache, nausea, problems with coordination, and swelling and burning sensations.

The problem isn’t just isolated to Boone County. Last year in Indianapolis, firefighters reported that they were dealing with several calls a day related to people using heavy-duty bug sprays to get high. They told ABC Action News that people were found in catatonic states, unable to breathe, sometimes barely able to speak or walk, and suffering from a variety of other negative side effects from the spray.

“Kind of like a zombie,” Indianapolis Fire Department Captain Chris Major told ABC Action News in March 2018. “We started describing it like zombielike, where they might be eating the grass that they’re lying in or they are tearing at their clothes.”

“You just kind of wonder what’s going to be the next thing,” said Dr Daniel Rusyniak, another local. “If they’re doing this now, what are they going to do next?”